We arrived in Jerusalem yesterday and explored the old city in the rain. Last night it snowed at least 5 inches, maybe more, and the entire city of Jerusalem pretty much shut down. This morning there were no restaurants open in the area of central city where we are staying, near King George and Ben Yehuda, but we figured we would find something in the Old City. We headed out, and walked down the middle of Hillel street, which was partially cleared, and made it to the Jaffa Gate. We had hoped to visit the Tower of David Museum at the Citadel. Alas, it was closed, but there was a Christian church and café open adjacent to it, so we managed to find breakfast.
We then walked through the sluch to the Jewish Quarter and arrived at the Western Wall. It was busy – as today is Friday, and Shabbos begins tonight. The snow provided a very nice contrast to yesterday. When we first went to the Wall, the rain stopped; today the snow stopped and the sun even came out. Someone told us that the sun comes out at least once a day in Jerusalem. I believe it. It was there where I met two guys from Drake University in Des Moines, fellow Missouri Valley Conference schools. They were here to develop a study abroad class on diversity issues in Israel. I told them I was here to develop a peace studies class, and I suspected that was very similar. We chatted for awhile, and one of the guys was their Dean of Students. I will follow up with him when I return home.
We headed up from the Western Wall, to see if the Temple Institute was open (it wasn’t), but we met a college age student from Orange County who has been studying at the Yeshiva there for more than a year. 12 hours of torah study a day, five days a week. He offered to bring us up to the roof-top of the dormitory to get a view of the wall and the Dome on the Rock. It was a spectacular view. And then we had snow-ball fights with kids on the adjacent roof-top. Fun.